Hero World Challenge 2017: How Tiger Woods fared in Round 4
By Dan McDonald
Saturday's moving day at the Hero World Challenge had Tiger Woods moving in the wrong direction down the leaderboard. On a day where the lowest score was a 70, Woods carded a 3-over 75 and was well back of 54-hole leader Charley Hoffman.
Could he recover from the frustrating round to finish the week strong? Yes.
The driver worked especially well today for Woods, who put together a solid round of 68 to close out the tournament at 8-under.
Here's a chronological look at Tiger's round today with a few highlights along the way:
Woods got off to a rough start yesterday on the opening hole. That was far from the case today. A great drive into the fairway and a great approach shot showing improved distance control left a good look at birdie. The putt hit the lip of the hole and left him with an easy par to start off the round.
On the 198-yard par 3 second hole, Woods hit the green but left himself well short of the hole. The super tricky 40-footer for birdie rolled well past the hole but he dropped the 10-footer coming back uphill in the center of the cup to avoid an early bogey. Also of note on this hole, tennis star Rafa Nadal is along for the ride today.
The par 5 3rd brings us our first big Tiger moments of the day. He crushes his drive (this will become a theme today) and leaves himself an opportunity to go for the green in two. And oh does he. Queue up some old vintage Tiger recoil shots, because this was one of those shots that makes us think that he really is back. The 2-iron does go a little long, but he manages to get up and down for the first birdie of the day -- 11 holes earlier than it took him yesterday.
On the par-4 fourth, he again finds the fairway off the tee. His approach shot from 158 hits the green and trickles into the fringe. The birdie putt gets caught up in the bermuda and left short. He converts the easy par to keep the round going.
The 159-yard, par-3 fifth hole was no match for Woods today. With a tee shot left under the hole, he buries the putt to get on a roll and card another birdie.
Moving on to the second par 5 of the day at No. 6, Woods is now 4/4 on fairways hit. This time he lays up. Third shot is an 86 yard approach shot with great distance control, just pulled it a bit left. Another green hit in regulation. A bit of a misread on the putt, but leaves a tap-in par.
Tiger is on a roll with the driver, so he decides to go for it on the 336-yard par-4 7th. Statistically, he missed his first fairway of the day. But that's because his drive settled about 25 feet from the cup with an opportunity for eagle. And oh what an eagle putt it was. Looked like it might just barely miss, but it catches the left edge of the cup and rolls around the back and in. Scorecard now reads 4 under through 7 holes and he's back on the first page of the leaderboard at 8-under for the tournament.
On to the 8th, a 217-yard par 3. He leaves himself an uphill putt from about 30 feet. Great effort for birdie, leaves a tap in par.
The third par-5 of the day at No. 9 is more of the same off the tee. He pipes his drive leaving 298 to the hole. He didn’t outdrive JT on this one, but he’s going to have a little more pop in his shots the rest of the way after finding out Alabama made the College Football Playoff. The only fairway Tiger technically missed on the front nine was the 7th because he drove the green. Goes for it with the 3-wood and comes up just short into the front right bunker. Great touch out of the bunker leaves a short birdie putt to go out at 31 matching his front nine performance on Friday.
Embrace the good vibes on the front nine, because the 10th is a bit of a buzzkill. Woods tee shot found the fairway (that's 6/7 on the day if you're keeping track). His approach shot was left short and the first look at the short game doesn't go well. We haven't been able to determine what happened, but he ends up 12 feet from the hole putting for bogey. The putt hits the hole and Tiger taps in for double. It’s his first double bogey of the week.
We're back to the par 5s on No. 11 and we're back to the fairway with Tiger. He goes for it and reaches in two with about 25 feet for birdie. Misses the putt but taps in for a really nice rebound birdie after the double.
The tee shot on the 202-yard, par-3 12th looked good but came up well short and almost ended up in the water. The short game looked much better this time as he recovers with his chip and leaves a 10-footer for par. He sinks it for a great par and continues to build momentum back after that unfortunate double to start the back nine.
The par-4 13th hole: Tee shot to fairway with a beauty. Again. From 134 yards out, Woods approach shot settles about 8 feet from the cup with a good look at birdie. Looked like a bit of a misread on the putt, but an easy kick in par.
The 14th hole is another drivable one at 298 yards and with the way he's been hitting the driver, there's absolutely no reason not to go for it. The shot ends up a little short and right, but another fairway and an easy up-and-down opportunity for birdie. The pitch is a really good one that settles to about two feet for one of the easier birdies he's had all week.
Back to the par 5s on No. 15, and like clockwork, Tiger is hitting fairways with reckless abandon. He wasn't happy with the iron approach shot and ends up in the greenside bunker. Then, he hits a picturesque bunker shot that plays the contour of the green wonderfully and settles to about six feet. A left-to-right putt that hits dead center of the cup gives him another circle on the card and moves him to under par on the back nine after the rough start.
After 16 holes, Tiger Woods finally missed a fairway, but it's one of those ones that technically misses by a couple yards but is just fine for your approach shot. The approach shot flies the green, but with plenty of green to work with on the way back. He chooses to use putter from off the green and it works out very well, cozying up to a foot of the hole for an easy par.
The final par 3 of the day at No. 17 didn't treat Woods very well. He pulled his tee shot left into the greenside bunker. He managed to hit a really nifty blast out of the sand and left a 7-footer for the par save, but no luck there and an unfortunate bogey to head into the final hole of his comeback tournament.
One last time all together now on the No. 18 tee shot: Tiger Woods is in the fairway after a beautiful drive. Another green in regulation on the approach shot leaves him about 20 feet for birdie. The putt slides by about 5 feet and then the comebacker lips out. Three-putt bogey isn't going to feel good to finish things off, but it's a 4-under 68 and 8-under par overall for Tiger in a strong comeback performance this week.